Camillo Ricordi, M.D. is the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami (UM), Florida, where he serves as Director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI; www.diabetesresearch.org) and the Cell Transplant Program. Ricordi has been serving as Responsible Head of the NIH funded cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) Human Cell Processing Facility (1993-present), for the manufacturing of advanced human cell and other biologic products, for research and clinical applications at UM, in the US and worldwide.
Ricordi completed high school with a perfect score and all graduate and post-graduate studies with the highest scores and honors in Milan, Italy. After medical school, board certification and military service as a medical officer in the Italian air force, he moved to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he received an NIH Research Trainee Award (1986-1988), and subsequently spent four years (1989-1993) with transplant pioneer, Prof. Thomas E. Starzl, as Director of Cellular Transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Transplantation Institute. Since 1993, he has been working at the University of Miami (UM).
Acknowledged by his peers as one of the world’s leading scientists in cell transplantation, Ricordi is well-known for inventing the machine that made it possible to isolate large numbers of islet cells (insulin-producing cells) from the human pancreas and for performing the first series of successful clinical islet allotransplants that reversed diabetes. The procedure is now used by laboratories performing clinical islet transplants worldwide and in 2017 the first NIH funded, FDA Phase 3 multicenter trial was successfully completed by the NIH Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium, chaired by Ricordi for over a decade. He has also developed highly innovative strategies with the objective to re-set the immune system and to avoid the need for anti-rejection drugs in transplantation and autoimmune diseases.
Ricordi’s research interests include the use of molecular, cell-based (e.g., Mesenchymal Stem Cells), and extracellular vescicle based strategies, for modulation of inflammation, immunomodulation and regenerative medicine, to prevent or treat diabetes, kidney disease, neurodegenerative, age-related chronic degenerative conditions, and to prolong healthy lifespan (healthspan).
In 2015 Ricordi led the team that performed the first successful transplants of a bioengineered endocrine pancreas, using a 3D bioactive resorbable scaffold in the abdominal cavity of recipients with a severe form of Type 1 Diabetes (BioHUB Project). This unprecedented success was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and resulted in renewed enthusiasm for the possibility to engineer the transplant site to improve the outcomes of cellular therapies and avoid the requirements for recipient immunosuppression.
Ricordi was president of the Cell Transplant Society (1992-94), co-founder and chairman of the National Diabetes Research Coalition (Chairman 1997), co-founder and president (1999-2001) of the International Association for Pancreas and Islet Transplantation (IPITA), and a member of the council of The Transplantation Society (2002-2008). He also served on the council of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (2000-2002), on the National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIAID) Expert Panel on clinical approaches for tolerance induction, on the FDA Biologic Response Modifiers Advisory Committee, on the NIH/NCRR Islet Cell Resources (ICRs) Executive Committee, on the NIH-NIDDK Strategic Planning Committee and on the NIH-NIAID Expert Panel on Transplantation Research. He is currently serving as Chairperson of the Clinical Islet Transplant Consortium (NIDDK-NIAID). He has also been serving on several NIH study sections, including Surgery, Anesthesia and Trauma, the General Clinical Research Centers, Small Business Innovative Research, the Immune Tolerance Network, in addition to serving as a reviewer for several international funding agencies.
Ricordi has received numerous honors and awards, including the World Prize in Surgery (University of Geneva) for developing a technology that significantly contributed to the advancement of a surgical field, and the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by the American Diabetes Association. Ricordi was Knighted by the President of the Republic of Italy in the highest Order of the Republic (the Order of Merit) with the Knighthood decoration of Cavaliere Ufficiale and he was one of the few surgeons ever inducted into the Association of American Physicians (AAP). In 2011 he received the D-Life’s Top Award for making the biggest difference in diabetes.
Ricordi was recently inducted into the National Academy of Inventors for contributing outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society. In 2018, he ranked as #1 world expert in transplantation of insulin producing cells for treatment of diabetes, among over 4,000 physicians, surgeons and scientists evaluated, and was appointed to the Supreme Council of Health (Consiglio Superiore di Sanita’) by the Italian Ministry of Health.
Ricordi is currently serving on the editorial board of CellR4 (Editor-in-Chief; www.cellr4.org) He has served also on the boards of Cell Transplantation (Founding Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief), the American Journal of Transplantation (Associate Editor), Transplantation, Transplantation Proceedings, Tissue Engineering, and Graft (Editor-in-Chief, 1998-2002).
Ricordi also serves as President of the Board of ISMETT (Mediterranean Institute of Transplantation and Advanced Therapies; http://www.ismett.edu), and was appointed President of Fondazione Ri.MED (http://www.fondazionerimed.eu) by the Italian Prime Minister, for the 2013-2017 term.
Ricordi was founding president of the Fondazione Cure Alliance ONLUS and of The Cure Alliance (www.thecurealliance.org) and Chairman of the Diabetes Research Institute Federation (http://www.diabetesresearch.org/Research-Collaboration), coordinating and promoting cure focused research at over 24 leading institutions worldwide, while further developing Telescience platform technologies to eliminate geographic barriers to scientific collaboration. These initiatives now allow scientists and project teams from around the world to synergize efforts and work together like if they are in the same physical space.
Ricordi has contributed 1,048 scientific publications that were cited 42,400 times (H-index 96). As an inventor, he has been awarded 26 patents.